Regarding 1Password, Yojimbo, Things, and Apps That Do Not Sync via the Cloud

In a recent link to 1Password’s incorporation of over-the-air syncing between desktop, iPad, and iPhone apps, I wrote the following:

I mostly use 1Password on my Mac to generate and save passwords and logins for websites. But on my iPhone and iPad it makes for a fantastic way to keep notes and other top-secret info safe and secure. And now that it has free cloud syncing via Dropbox (which works perfectly), 1Password just became that much more useful and vital to me.

With the amount of shared information I keep between my iPad, iPhone, and Mac, apps which sync via the cloud are becoming a necessity while apps that don’t are quickly becoming so cumbersome to maintain they’re almost useless.

I received a little bit of feedback from that post, and for the most part people were asking two things: (1) If I’m using 1Password to keep notes on my iPhone, what about Yojimbo?; and (2) if apps that don’t cloud sync are so cumbersome now, what am I doing about Things?

The short answer is that I still use both of these apps every day. Yojimbo and 1Password have much different uses, and the lack of cloud syncing in Things has not yet become so cumbersome that I’ve abandoned it.

I use Yojimbo to store just about anything and everything, while 1Password keeps only important info. The vast majority of info I curate is done when working on my laptop and therefore lands in Yojimbo.

As I wrote in my review of Yojimbo, one of the premier features is its encouragement of perpetual info capture regardless of the type. Yojimbo is the simplest way I know of to save any bit of spontaneous information, no matter how indispensable or arbitrary that information is.

1Password on the other hand is hardly geared for this type of frictionless data capture. Quite the opposite in fact. When you launch 1Password you’re greeted by a locked steel door requiring a combination before you gain access the app.

I primarily use 1Password for generating and storing passwords and for logging in to websites. The only other info I store is that which is most likely to be useful to me when I’m on the go. Such as Anna’s and my cars’ license plate numbers, my iOS device UDIDs, and a few other things.

It has never bothered me that Yojimbo does not have a mobile app and that I do not have access to my Yojimbo library when on the go. In fact, not only does it not bother me, I’ve never even been in a real-life scenario where I was out with just my iPhone and wanted access to my Yojimbo library. (And the only time I’ve used the Yojimbo Sidekick mobile website library thingamajig was to test it.)

However, I am daily in scenarios where I am out with just my iPhone and wish I had access to the latest version of my to-do list.

I’ve been using Things since it was in beta, and I still love it. It works seamlessly with my daily workflow of getting tasks in and out. And I love how simple it is — the structure of tasks, projects, and other information is not too simple, nor too rich — it’s just right. But I don’t just use Things on my Mac anymore. I am adding and checking off tasks on all three devices throughout my day. My multi-device to-do list is slowly becoming so cumbersome to maintain some days it’s almost useless. Cloud sync for Things is almost a necessity for me.

It’s no secret that the Cultured Code team is working on a Cloud Sync solution. Considering their reputation for development I have no doubt it will be worth the wait. But in the mean I’ve resorted to managing tasks using email, and often I’ll scrub my to-do list in Simplenote.

On the other hand, it has been fascinating to glimpse into how I daily get things done, as I become increasingly more aware of these speed-bumps caused by Things being out of sync. It not only shows how much more work I am doing away from my laptop (by using my iPad). It is also showing just how valuable it is to have my work and tools in constant sync, regardless of the context of the device.

And my next wish? A cloud-based service like Instapaper, but for to-do items. I want it to be available in apps like Tweetie, Reeder, and more, so when I click on “Do Later” it sends the link or item of note into a running to-do list (that syncs with Things, of course).